Theoretical Perspectives on Single Parenting

Says Who? 

John Bowlby’s attachment theory suggests that secure attachment between a parent and child makes parenting easier and supports parent/child intimacy, which enhances the child’s sense of worth

How does this relate to single-parent families?

Lack of interaction between the children of single-parent families and their parents can result in attachment issues that can compromise the effectiveness of parenting strategies, and result an overwhelming amount of stress on custodial parents as they endeavor to carry out their parenting responsibilities.

A close relationship between the single-parent and the child fosters the child’s social-emotional development and decreases behavioral concerns. 

Sigmund Freud suggests that the human psyche is by nature pleasure seeking.

How does this relate to single-parent families?

Single-parents who are experiencing the pain of separation is likely to resort to behaviors, that may be risky, yet provides them with the gratification they may need to deal with the stressors that they encounter.

B.F. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning suggests that individuals tend to repeat behaviors that lead to favorable results.

How does this relate to single-parent families?

Many single-parents struggle with self reliance because their dependency on external supports is reinforced… For example, those who are welfare dependent may be better off financially that those who work.

Erick Erickson’s theory of psychosocial developmental suggests if the caregiver is available, consistent, supportive and reliable children achieve developmental milestones which ultimately supports their trust, independence, self-awareness and desire to succeed.

How does this relate to single-parent families?

Children raised in single-parent households have the same developmental needs as other children. Therefore, if the single-parent is consistent, supportive and reliable, they too should acquire attitudes of trust, independence, self-awareness and the desire to succeed.  

L.S Vygotsky’s concept of cognitive development suggests that the social world defines the way children think. He believed that children learn more when their learning is best supported at opportune times when the caregiver aides them in learning new tasks.

How does this relate to single-parent families?

When children raised in single-parent households are left alone for long periods of time or left in the hands of uninvolved caregivers their academic skills are not being fully supported.  

The Resiliency theory suggests that through the use of inborn coping mechanisms individuals are able to overcome adversities in their lives.

How does this relate to single-parent families?

Through the use of appropriate resources and the application of coping strategies single-parent families can overcome the challenges that they encounter.  

Carl Rogers’ self-actualization perspective proposes that the fundamental goal of all individuals is to maximize their potential and be the best they could be.

How does this relate to single-parent families?

It is not the intention or goal of single-parent families to be problematic and dysfunctional. Like other families the desire of the members of single-parent families is to achieve family cohesion, and to support the growth and development of each other.

We have many more Parenting Help Articles Now Available.